Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to Manage in a World Turned Upside Down

Working is stressful enough in times without a global recession, huge layoffs , and ongoing corporate bankruptcies. Managers can do a great deal to relieve an employee’s fears, ease a restructuring, or help prepare for a layoff. Managers are in a position to:
  • Deal honestly with employees
  • Be proactive with employees’ needs for information
  • Encourage participation in change where possible
  • Implement change gradually

Most people do not resist change. They resist the uncertainty associated with change. Honest and constant communication can help to reduce uncertainty. Each employee, like you, needs to make informed decisions about their (family’s) future. A friend of mine found a new job because he heard his team might be downsized in a few months. It wasn’t.

These observations may seem trite, but how often have you seen change go well? How many times have you been part of a reorganization and commented, “Excellent reorg. Smooth.” Do most people who are laid off conclude that they were treated with respect?


  1. At first people are reluctant to change. They stop when change-leaders are consistent enough to convince them the change will happen no matter what or they start seeing positive results of change.

  2. I had one director tell me not to worry about who agrees or disagrees with a change. He said, "Look, a percentage will agree, the rest will not. No matter what the change is, some will follow and some will not." I guess the director's advice fits in the you-can't-please-all-the-people-all-the-time category.